Fred’s Pigeons by Catherine Edmunds


My neighbour’s yard is full of pigeon shit
excreted by the thirty birds he keeps
in two small crees. I wouldn’t mind a bit
if rather than ‘purrup’ they sang with cheeps
or chirrups, flutey tunes, not burbly purrs
which get right on my tits (excuse my French).
But cripes! I hate ’em! Still, the thought occurs
that peacocks would be worse. They call ‘kawench’
or some such sound that sets my teeth on edge
and makes me want to wring their scrawny necks.
Right. Here’s the deal. If Fred’s birds have to fledge,
okay, but if they crap upon my kecks
or other stuff that I’ve hung out to dry
the feathered faecal droppers have to die.

Catherine Edmunds was educated at Dartington College of Arts, and Goldsmith’s College, London. Her published works include a poetry collection, four novels and a Holocaust memoir. Catherine has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her writing has appeared in the Frogmore Papers, The Binnacle, Butchers’ Dog, and other literary journals.


If… by Howard Davies


If you can blame the problems of your nation
On the Muslims, and the Chinese, and the Jews,
On Mexican illegal immigration,
And on everyone who’s not as white as you;

If you can get the blacks to pin their hopes on you
And still be friendly with the Ku Klux Klan;
If you can get the broads to cast their votes for you
And still grab ’em by the pussy when you can;

If you can use your history of failure
As a ruse to bring your taxes down to zero;
And if, instead of thinking they should jail ya,
Folks think you’re smart, and hail you as a hero;

If you can garner roars and cheers aplenty
For a wall you’ve no intention to construct,
Then yours will be the world till 2020
And, what’s more my son… we’re absolutely f***ed.

Normal Dad by Jude Cowan Montague


for James Worse and Marlowe

Normal dad’s are nice dads,
normal dads are good,
normal dads do not have beards
and no one thinks they should.

Normal dads do not stare out
to see if there are ships.
Normal dads do not write pomes
or mess with English Lit.

Normal dads are not like you.
Normal dads aren’t cool.
Normal dads are more like them –
be normal! Toe the rule!

Jude Cowan Montague used to work as an archivist for Reuters and has written poetry about the news agency reports. She created and host a weekly radio show on Resonance FM called ‘The News Agents’. She has been an artist and a songwriter as well as a poet, since forever and you can drop in on her at her gallery in St Leonards-on-Sea which is called Montague Armstrong.

the consequences of kissing the wrong gadgie by Catherine Edmunds


She knew she had to wait until the dark
or risk her substance fizzling into mist
for now the days of rising with the lark
were gone. She sighed, and wished she hadn’t kissed
the gadgie in the costume. How was she
to know the fangs were real? She touched her neck.
A little sore. She thought she’d try to see
the damage in the mirror. What the heck?
Reflection gone? She shrugged, and went to eat
some garlic bread, but shuddered at the smell.
She must remember. No more bread. No meat.
No cups of tea, just vats of blood. Oh hell!
A coffin? Cape? She had to make a list,
so dipped a quill with care into her wrist.

(Previously published in Anomalous Appetites)

Catherine Edmunds was educated at Dartington College of Arts, and Goldsmith’s College, London. Her published works include a poetry collection, four novels and a Holocaust memoir. Catherine has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her writing has appeared in the Frogmore Papers, The Binnacle, Butchers’ Dog, and other literary journals.


Letter from the Editor


Well, Happy New Year to all our contributors and readers. A new year is always a good time to reflect on how things are going and the unfortunate truth is that this place is not quite the vibrant hub that it almost was in the early days back in the first half of last year. The submissions have slowed to a trickle and the numbers of views of each poem posted have also dropped significantly.

If I were more of an editor by temperament, I might be tempted to saddle up and mount a big campaign that would drum up support (and maybe mix a few more metaphors into the bargain). However, one of the many valuable things I’ve learnt over the last nine months is that I’m not really an editor by temperament. At least, not of a poetry magazine. Also, if the truth were told, I have other projects for 2017 that are demanding my attention, and I need to focus.

So as of today:

  1. Submissions to SCOMA are closed.
  2. Submissions that have already been accepted will be published as promised, unless you would rather they weren’t – in which case please do get in touch.
  3. Unprocessed outstanding submissions will be processed as if nothing had happened, although – again – I will quite understand if you’d prefer to withdraw your work from submission.
  4. This site will remain as a monument to your excellent collective creative endeavours for the foreseeable future.

Apologies for the abruptness of this message. If there is anyone out there would who like to take up the reins as editor, please do let me know, as I really would like this thing we’ve all created to carry on in some form or another. The world needs humour more than ever.

All the best,


A Spin Through Time by Judy Darley


Uncle Webster gave me the formula
for the time machine, where x = the growl
of a strawberry-eating bear, and y, the dust
found in pockets of winter coats that
have been under the bed all summer.

I built the base from an old crate
painted scarlet, with bicycle wheels fitted
for extra velocity. It’s a blustery day,
leaves blowing every which way,
when I persuade the bear to crouch in the bow
and utter his sky-juddering growl.

A scatter of dust and we’re off,
blizzarding between eons
like a double pennant gale warning.

My aim? To visit Hadrian’s Wall at its beginning;
I have an essay due on Monday about the Roman Empire.
But spelling was never my strongest subject.
A typo sends us spiralling to the Hadean era
– more than a billion years prior
to the first multi-cellular life on Earth.

I hold my breath; the bear lets loose a howl.
Past travesties and calamities we spin,
to the end of all things and back again.

Homework forgotten, one goal remains.
We pause briefly in the 21st century,
collecting two new passengers,
Theresa and Donald.
They huddle on the bear’s warm lap,
eyes and lips streaming with fright.

Backside to the Hadean era we soar,
and on to the Devonian at the very moment
when the first clammy amphibians appear.
And there we leave them to evolve, or expire,
hoping for a brighter future for us all.

Judy Darley writes fiction, poetry and journalism. Her words have been published in literary magazines and anthologies. She’s read her short fiction on BBC radio, in cafés, caves, an artist’s studio and a disused church. Judy blogs about art and other things here.


Party Buffet by Julia D McGuinness


Regimented in rows on black plastic trays:
Chiselled slopes of Mother’s Pride,
seamed with slivers of skin-tone ham;
escaping screes of grated cheese;
flotsam of tomato pips.
A lurking crisp skirts a wilt of lettuce.

Sausage rolls heaped in cairns;
hump-backed celery stooped in tumblers.
Acne of broccoli speckles a wan-faced quiche
eye-balled by a mound of Scotch eggs.
Coronation chicken: a meat-pebble
swirl in a nicotine-stain of lava.

Batons of carrot, cucumber are stacked
for a drag in pots of off-white pulp.
Flaking filo parcels squeeze oozes
of tawny sludge: the Vegetarian Option.
Tucked sly in a mattress of baps,
grey-yellow egg-yolk waits to coat teeth.

For these, we have queued.

Julia D McGuinness is a writer, counsellor and writing for wellbeing practitioner based near Chester. She has written 4 non-fiction books and her poetry has been published online. Her first poetry collection, Chester City Walls, was published last year by Poetry Space.

Apprentice Villanelle by Jean Taylor


I’m going to fold the paper one more time,
If it’s not right it can’t be put away,
And then I can get started on my rhyme.

I find this poetry’s a ball of slime,
A tortured wasting of my precious day.
I’m going to fold the paper one more time.

I’ll fold it neatly so the creases chime
And make a pattern that is sure to stay
And then I can get started on my rhyme.

Wanting to write is surely not a crime,
I only need a poem not a play.
I’m going to fold the paper one more time.

Perhaps that way I’ll change the paradigm.
The paper will be perfect in its way
And then I can get started on my rhyme.

Parnassus is a tricky hill to climb
I don’t get far and then I go astray.
I’m going to fold the paper one last time
And then I can get started on my rhyme.

Jean Taylor belongs to Words on Canvas – a group of ekphrastic writers who work in collaboration with the National Galleries of Scotland. Her poetry has been published in a range of publications including Orbis, Northwords Now, Freak Circus and Poetry Scotland.

Doctor Smith by Tom McColl


The surgery I go to
has a two-headed doctor.
‘Doctor Smith will see you, see you, now.’

It gets very confusing.
Doctor Smith, via his left head,
gives me a diagnosis
then, via his right head,
gives me a second opinion,
which always differs from the first
(and, as it happens,
that opinion’s
never the best one –
always the worst).

When Doctor Smith examines me with a stethoscope,
it’s in the left head’s left ear
and the right head’s right ear.
In other words, he makes a right pig’s ear
(and also a left pig’s ear)
of any examination he does.
However, when I once challenged him about it,
Doctor Smith’s left head
just said,
‘Can you breathe in a bit more deeply, please?’
while his right head shook morosely.

Apparently, his wife has got two heads as well,
and two pairs of breasts.
It’s said they met as impoverished but physically normal students,
earning money by undergoing laboratory tests.

Two heads are better than one, they say,
but I’m not too sure that comes into play
while attending an appointment with
the always-in-two-minds Doctor Smith.

Thomas McColl has had poems published in magazines such as Envoi, Rising, Iota and Ink, Sweat and Tears, and his first full collection of poetry, Being With Me Will Help You Learn, is out now from Listen Softly London Press.